Category: BASEBALL

Freedom Farm Brings Home The Bronze

MAKING HISTORY: Freedom Farm Baseball League claimed the bronze with a 6-1 win over Aruba at the Caribbean Regional Qualifier for the Little League World Series in Sabana Grande, Puerto Rico

MAKING HISTORY: Freedom Farm Baseball League claimed the bronze with a 6-1 win over Aruba at the Caribbean Regional Qualifier for the Little League World Series in Sabana Grande, Puerto Rico

Monday, July 23, 2018


#Tribune Sports Reporter

#FREEDOM Farm Baseball League closed out competition at the Caribbean Regional Qualifier for the Little League World Series with an historic finish for the Bahamas.

#The team claimed the bronze medal at the event with a 6-1 win over Aruba at the tournament in Sabana Grande, Puerto Rico.

#Participating teams in the event included defending Caribbean champions Los Bravos de Pontezuela (Santiago, Dominican Republic), Aruba Center (Santa Cruz, Aruba), Pabao (Willemstad, Curacao), Radames Lopez (Guayama, Puerto Rico A), Gino Vega (Sabana Grande, Puerto Rico B) and District 1 (St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands).

#Radames Lopez won the tournament 5-2 over Pabao and will represent the Caribbean at the Little League World Series August 16-26 in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

#They completed the tournament undefeated at 8-0. It will be the first time a Puerto Rican side has represented the region in the event since 2014.

#After opening the tournament with three consecutive wins, the Bahamas suffered a four-game losing streak.

#In game one, Freedom Farm defeated Los Bravos de Pontezuela from the Dominican Republic 3-2 and followed with a 10-3 win over Gino Vega LL. They improved to 3-0 with a dominant 13-2 win over District 1 LL of the US Virgin Islands.

#However, they suffered their first loss of the tournament in their earlier meeting against Radames Lopez LL 7-4 in the first game of a double header, followed by a 10-9 loss to Pabao.

#The Farmers then suffered a 4-3 loss on a walk-off hit from Aruba, but maintained fourth position in the standings and advanced to the semi-final where they suffered a 3-0 loss to the eventual tournament champions.

#“It is with a thankful heart and a new found respect for the Freedom Farm organisation that I congratulate its manager, Greg Burrows Jr, coach and delegate Clearance ‘CJ’ McKenzie, coach Steve Burrows and Team Freedom Farm Bahamas for advancing to the semi-final round of the Caribbean Regional Little League Baseball Tournament, hosted in Puerto Rico,” said Eddie Claude, district administrator for Little League Baseball in the Bahamas.

#“This is a first in the history of the Bahamas’ baseball programme.

#“I wish them all the best for the future and ask God’s blessings upon all who worked so hard on getting the team to Puerto Rico. It was truly a team effort.”

Restart date looking unrealistic for Freedom Farm

The June 30 restart date for the Freedom Farm Baseball League doesn’t appear to be feasible, as there is no green light given for sporting activities to resume in the country in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. League Commissioner Clarence “CJ” McKenzie said the league will continue to weigh its options

.June 15, 2020

Simba French


The only significant sporting activity to realistically resume in The Bahamas since the emergence of COVID-19 is professional athletes training. Local leagues such as the Freedom Farm Baseball League (FFBL) were looking to resume play by June 30, but that has now been pushed back as they await the green light from the government of The Bahamas on the advice of public health authorities.

According to the league’s commissioner, Clarence “CJ” McKenzie, the league thought about resuming on June 30 but that date is not looking feasible anymore.

“We would have dates that we would have liked to resume our season after the outbreak, which would have been June 30, but as that time is approaching it doesn’t seem as though we will start the season by then. It doesn’t mean that the season is canceled so we are pretty much under suspension; and we hope that within the next couple weeks, as we get further into the summer, we can make a final decision on the current season,” McKenzie said.

League members have been meeting every two weeks to discuss the current situation and plan for the future. There is a general concern for the health and safety of the players, coaches, fans, spectators, umpires, scorers, concession stand workers and everyone else affiliated with the league and regular play. McKenzie said there are some who are ready to go and others who are hesitant.

As for safety and health concerns, McKenzie said the league has the luxury of having a number of doctors and other medical professionals at hand.

“I think we have over a dozen doctors and over a dozen nurses as medical professionals who are affiliated with the league. We have a committee that is led by Dr. Valentine Grimes, who is our health and safety director for Freedom Farm. He is there to oversee the health protocols and measures for us to return, whenever that is. He is responsible for putting all the health and safety standards in place, recommending [what] the new norm for baseball will be and we are relying on him from that standpoint to help us to get back to baseball safely,” McKenzie said.

McKenzie said the players are always ready to play.

“The kids are motivated. They are excited. Their perception of risk is different. That’s why it calls for adults to be in a position to make the decision for them. If you leave it up to the kids, they will all be out to the park all together. We are moving cautiously. The kids are ready to get back to playing, from the young ones all the way up to the older ones,” he said. “Those kids who play on the senior field, ages 13 and up, baseball is important to them as they are seen by high school, colleges and university coaches. You also have persons in that age group who would have been seen by professional scouts so that opportunity to be seen has not been there the last few weeks. It is a lot more on the line for them than the younger ones. Some are ready to go and to travel but we have everything on hold, but their perception is different when to comes to the pandemic and how it is changing all of us.”

According to McKenzie, they will be weighing their options in a few weeks.

“We do have the option, if we so choose, to resume our season at any point later on in the fall, or if we feel it’s best because of the time frame to have a short tournament that is also being discussed as well as a shortened fall season. All of that is being discussed,” McKenzie said.

He assured that they will not rush to return as the health and safety of league members and everyone involved is paramount.

Stadium Costs Soared To $43m

Minister of Public Works Desmond Bannister.

Minister of Public Works Desmond Bannister.

As of Thursday, September 6, 2018


#Tribune Business Editor

#The Andre Rodgers Baseball Stadium is a waste of taxpayer money that will “never pay for itself”, a Cabinet minister admitted yesterday, amid steps taken to prevent a near-tripling of costs.

#Desmond Bannister, pictured, minister of works, told Tribune Business that the Government was aiming to cap construction costs at “about $30m” rather than the $43.014m full scope of works to limit the Bahamian people’s financial exposure.

#This newspaper has obtained internal Cabinet documents that reveal the Christie administration’s initial $16.5m “estimated project cost” threatened to increase by 160 percent – almost three times’ higher than the original budget.

#The stadium’s costs have increased progressively since the project was conceived in 2014-2015, rapidly increasing to $18.75m and then just over $21m by the time the Christie administration was voted out of office in the May 2017 general election.

#A November 27, 2017, construction “update” revealed that the “original funds required” subsequently soared to $32.917m through the addition of more than $6m in “contingencies” and “provisional sums” to cover any cost overruns.

#Terran Rodgers, a Ministry of Works architect, said in the report that construction delays due to non-payment of the contractor, Woslee Construction, plus structural engineers and other professionals, had added some $1.711m to the cost.

#And he warned that “additional funds required to complete the project” stood at $8.386m if the Government went through with adding “two auxiliary fields” and “high-level IT services”, taking the final cost to $43.014m.

#Mr Bannister yesterday confirmed the Minnis administration had elected not to proceed with these facilities, which were outside the “original scope” of works, in the hopes of saving $5.5m and keeping project costs closer to $30m.

#He revealed that the Christie administration’s expectations that the stadium would produce a return on the Bahamian people’s investment through attracting Major League Baseball (MLB) and National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) teams to use the facility, along with major tournaments, would never materialise.

#Describing the situation as “a disaster”, the Minister said the near-25 acre Andre Rodgers Baseball Stadium “has the wrong orientation” and “a number of other challenges” that would prevent it from being certified as ‘fit for use’ by either MLB or NCAA teams.

#While construction resumed two weeks ago in a bid to complete the long-delayed facility, Mr Bannister said the Minnis administration had been “stuck with a mess” that it is “extremely unhappy about”.

#“That Andre Rodgers Baseball Stadium has been a very expensive project for the Bahamian people,” the Minister confirmed to Tribune Business. “I’ve said it many times publicly; it’s poorly conceived and will be very, very expensive – about $30m.

#“It is something that the Government inherited where about $13m was already in the ground. There was very little we could do except finish it. No, I can’t see it ever paying for itself. It will never be useful for MLB. It has the wrong orientation. There are a number of challenges with that stadium and the way it was conceived.”

#A ‘minute paper’ obtained by Tribune Business, dated May 19, 2015, and signed by Calvin Balfour, then-permanent secretary in the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, details the Cabinet approvals obtained by the Christie administration’s Ministry of Works for the provision of architectural, construction oversight and other services for the stadium.

#It also references a Cabinet discussions where the then-minister of youth, sports and culture, Dr Danny Johnson, expressed optimism that the Andre Rodgers Baseball Stadium “was expected to pay for itself as a number of US baseball teams had expressed interest in utilising the field”.

#“Importantly, within the country 1,800 children and young adults were actively playing the game of baseball, and approximately 225 Bahamian students were playing on US college and elite high school baseball teams, [with] the game introduced in Ministry of Education, Science and Technology schools as a sport,” the Cabinet paper continued.

#Dr Johnson did not respond to a Tribune Business message seeking comment yesterday, but his assertion that the 5,000 seat stadium – with the capacity to add 5,000 more – would be self-sustaining financially is in stark contrast to Mr Bannister’s position.

#The Minister of Works yesterday said he had “no evidence” that any economic modelling or impact studies were done by the former government to determine whether the Andre Rodgers Baseball Stadium could indeed “pay for itself”.

#“We have evidence before us that it’s a stadium, if they had thought it through properly, they would not have done what they’ve done,” Mr Bannister said.

#The May 2015 ‘minute paper’ pegged the “estimated project cost” at $16.5m, with the total budget set at $18.75m. Arconcepts, the firm headed by architect Michael Foster, was approved to provide full architectural and management services for a sum of $1.444m – equivalent to 8.75 percent of the $16.5m “project cost” – which was added on top of these costs. Dant Clayton, a US firm, was also approved to provide grandstand design and construction services for $3.963m.

#Problems, and costs, increased when the Christie administration failed to pay Woslee Construction for work performed on the stadium prior to the general election. “Due to non-payment (three months of non-payment), the contractor suspended work on site until the issue….. was addressed,” Mr Rodgers, the Ministry of Work architect, wrote in his November 27, 2017, paper.

#The paper, sent to Ministry of Works permanent secretary, Colin Higgs, and other senior officials revealed that “all design consultants” working on the stadium stopped work at the same time because of non-payment.

#While Woslee resumed on May 29, 2017, Mr Rodgers said this was “at a reduced scope as they were limited to what work could be executed” due to the continuing work suspension by unpaid structural engineers and other project consultants.

#This state of affairs persisted through until November 17, 2017, due to delays in Cabinet approving funding to pay the consultants. This meant the original completion date for the Andre Rodgers Baseball Stadium was missed, forcing the Ministry of Works to approve Woslee’s request to extend the project’s all-risk insurance.

#“An item that is fast becoming a possible challenge for the project is the exposed structural steel members from Dant Clayton, and the exposed rebars on site,” Mr Rodgers said. “Deterioration is a concern, and the steel may require some level of treatment prior to any pouring of concrete. This is a cost that has been taken into consideration in the estimated additional funds required to complete the project.”

#The upshot of all this was that a project initially estimated as costing $16.5m, and given an $18.75m budget, now required $32.917m – almost double the original projections – to complete. The increase was sparked by a jump in construction costs to $21.352m, and the inclusion of $4m and $2m in “provisional sums” and a “contingency” respectively.

#Asked to explain the last two charges, Mr Bannister said yesterday: “What we’ve found in recent times with these projects is that the engineers and architects recommend putting in these provisional sums just to ensure funds are available to complete the project.

#“They put in the additional funds because they generally find they’re unable to complete those projects at these prices. On a number of occasions they have been forced to use contingencies and provisional sums.”

#Mr Rodgers’ paper, meanwhile, confirmed that $12.5m had already been spent on the Andre Rodgers Baseball Stadium by end-November 2017, including $3.788m and $1.299m paid to Dant Clayton and Arconcepts, respectively. These sums represented 95 percent and 90 percent of the total sums due to them, respectively.

#Warning that further taxpayer investment was required to complete the project, Mr Rodgers wrote: “Estimated cost due to the delay in construction from April 2017 to January 2018 (10 months) is $123,363 per month or $1.234m. The total, which includes the additional funds for design consultants, is $1.711m.

#“Additional funds required to complete the project (February 2018 to December 2018, 45 weeks) is estimated at $8.386m. Estimated total spend to complete the entire complex is $43.014m. This total includes two items that were not a part of the original scope – the two auxiliary fields ($4m) and the high-level IT services required for the project $1.5m).

#“If the client [Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture] decides not to build the additional fields and eliminate the high level IT design and install the total spend would be reduced by $5.5m.”

#Mr Bannister yesterday said the Government had decided to act on that cost-cutting invitation. Given that construction only resumed in late August, the extra seven-month delay will likely add at least $861,000 in costs, with the stadium likely set for completion in mid-2019 – almost two years’ behind schedule.

#“It is not something this government wanted to do,” the Minister added of the stadium’s completion. “The whole thing is really a disaster, a mess. We’re not happy at all. We’re extremely unhappy.

#“This is a project that was poorly conceived. I don’t believe that the former administration thought it out properly; not at all. It is something that the current administration ended up being stuck with and not being very happy about it.”

#One source intimately familiar with the stadium’s challenges, speaking on condition of anonymity, described the Andre Rodgers Baseball Stadium as “the quintessential model for wasting taxpayer dollars” so that a few persons can have a legacy or monument to themselves.

#Yet they also questioned why the Government was effectively throwing good money after bad in seeking to complete an uneconomic facility when it constantly delivered the message that it has no money in the Public Treasury.

#They added that the MLB would never approve the stadium for use because of its flawed design, absence of provisions for TV and IT, and dug-outs that were too small – backing the position taken by Mr Bannister.

#“This seems to me to be the quintessential model for wasting taxpayer dollars. It’s a typical play where people believe they can use taxpayer monies for their benefit,” the source said.

#“But if the Government is too broke to pay $5m for the IAAF Relays, how can it justify finding more money to complete an unqualified stadium where there is no moral or social justification for it? We’re too broke for the relays, too broke to support any sporting event, yet we do this with the stadium and do that with the hotel [Grand Lucayan].”

Work On The New Baseball Stadium Going As Planned

As of Thursday, November 17, 2016


#Senior Sports Reporter

#WORK on the new Andre Rodgers Baseball Stadium, with a synthetic field, is going as planned, on schedule and on budget, according to Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Dr Daniel Johnson.

#His comments came yesterday as he, along with architect Michael Foster, brought the media up to date on the latest developments of the 4,500 spectators’ seating stadium, which will occupy 24.80 acres of land at the Baillou Hills Sporting Complex.

#Director of Sports Timothy Munnings said the Ministry would hold periodic briefings as they continue with the construction.

#“In the next couple of weeks, you will see a lot of flat beds with the framework, the roof, the carriages for the grandstand and most of the copper structure on site,” said Foster, whose AR Concepts, The Bahamian Architect Group, is responsible for the designing of the stadium.

#“We played a trick on the media and the public. The typical Bahamian, you say you are going to do something and they don’t understand the process. They want to see something tomorrow. The people who follow sports in our country are very cruel. I understand that.”

#To ensure that everything would be in place, Foster said the company which manufactured the stadium, began the process from last November and now the fabricated portions are on the way, completely ahead of the construction that is currently taking place at the site.

#“I imagine that by February, the stadium is going to be up, people will drive by and think it will be a day or two away from completion,” Foster said. “But there will be a lot of work to be done.

#“I imagine that by February, the roof and the structure will be on and the proceeding months, you will see the exterior, the parking lot will begin. Once the crane goes down, the preparation for the field will begin.”

#By March 2016, 90 per cent of the stadium will be completed and between May and June, Foster said everything should be up and running.

#“The foundation is out of the ground, 100 per cent and the construction columns of the stadium, we expect to see them erected as early as next week,” Foster said.

#“I think everybody has seen the huge crane on the site, but that was a huge challenge getting that there.That will make the construction very easy. The specimens for the stadium are still the same with a seating of spectators and there will be a 5,000 square foot area for office spaces on both the ground and second level.”

#Although he would have preferred the grass turf on the field, Foster said it was agreed to go with synthetic surface that would allow the government to utilise the stadium on a daily basis for activities that will not just be limited to the game, but also of a cultural nature.

#“If we are going to satisfy the local and international people, who will come here to play, we have to use a surface that is realistically manageable and we have recently visited a number of college stadiums and we were particularly impressed, particularly Louisville, Kentucky and they have the synthetic field.”

#After a 30-year dispute, Johnson said he wants to assure the public that “baseball is indeed back” and they will see once the new stadium is completed.

#“I made that promise to Jim Wood. Jim Wood passed away and he did not get to see this day, but last week Friday, we honoured his name and his reputation and what he has done in this peace deal,” said Johnson about the dispute between the Bahamas Baseball Association and the Bahamas Baseball Federation.

#“Everything in the National Sports Park will be ran by the National Sports Authority on behalf of the people of the Bahamas,” Johnson said.

#“All federations, which intend to use those facilities, just like that the basketball stadium, will be subjected to a user’s fee.

#“We will prepare the space, you tell us what you are doing and we will prepare it and break it down. On the occasion when you have something special, you will book it in advance. This is no longer the neighbourhood park where you just turn up to play. You will have to book it in advance.”

#For those organisations that already receive a grant from the ministry, Johnson said they will get an increase, but part of it will go directly to the NSA for the maintenance of the facilities that the sporting organisations intend to utilise for their activities.

#Newly appointed president of the Bahamas Baseball Association, Sam Rodgers, along with Stanley Mitchell, one of the vice presidents, were present, but there was no represention from the Bahamas Baseball Federation, headed by Teddy Sweeting.

#Sweeting and the federation played a role in helping to get nine Bahamians playing for Great Britain this year in the World Baseball Classic. But Johnson said that will never happen again as the Bahamas will seek to field its own team to play in the future.

#With baseball being included in the 2020 Olympic Games, Johnson said they will be doing all in their power to ensure that the Bahamas takes full advantage of the opportunity. He said professional player Antoan Richardson, who made an impact in getting the players to team up for Great Britain, will be called upon to play a pivotal role in that regard.

#Once completed, Johnson said the National Sports Authority would be in charge of the scheduling for those international teams that want to come in to compete and those local organisations that will seek to participate.

#Once completed, Johnson said the University of the Bahamas would have access to a grand lawn that will link the stadium in what will be called the University Common, which will put the Bahamas on par with all others around the world.

#Johnson also said they have had a town meeting with the residents in the area and those affected, have compiled and reconfigured their yard so that they won’t be affected by the ring road that will be erected around the stadium.

Work To Begin ‘Soon’ On $21m Baseball Stadium

As of Tuesday, July 19, 2016


The artist’s impression of the new stadium, by Arconcepts.


#Senior Sports Reporter

#WORK will start “as soon as possible” on the new $21m, 4,500-seat Andre Rodgers Baseball Stadium, which will be erected east of the Government High School in the Queen Elizabeth Sports Centre.

#Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Works Philip ‘Brave’ Davis, made the announcement yesterday at the site of the new stadium, almost three years after the groundbreaking took place.

#Among those at the announcement were Prime Minister Perry Christie, Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Dr Daniel Johnson and executives from the local baseball fraternity, including Senator Greg Burrows and Bahamas Baseball Federation president Theodore ‘Teddy’ Sweeting.

#Mr Davis said that the original Andre Rodgers National Stadium, built in honour of The Bahamas’ greatest baseball icon in 1966 adjacent to the original Thomas A Robinson Track and Field Stadium, was demolished in 2006 to facilitate construction of the new TAR National Stadium.

#A month after the groundbreaking ceremony in November, 2014, the Government agreed to start preparation of the site for the stadium under the supervision of the Ministry of Works and Urban Development, Mr Davis said. The architectural firm Arconcepts Ltd was appointed as the project design team to complete the full construction drawings.

#In 2015, Arconcepts provided the full architectural and project management services for the National Baseball Stadium and Dant Clayton, of Louisville, Kentucky, was engaged to provide the design services for and to fabricate the grandstand at a cost of $3,963,000.

#This year, tenders were submitted from four businesses to the Ministry of Finance on February 23 to erect the grandstand, the site works and infrastructure, landscape and furnishings, construction of the baseball field, installation of the scoreboard and required equipment as well as the stadium lighting.

#Woslee Construction, whose bid was the lowest at $24,956.004, agreed to a project cost reduction of 10 to 15 per cent (about $3.3m) to reach a final figure of $21,351,507 after the evaluations were made by J D Chisholm & Associates with the assistance from the Ministry of Works.

#Woslee won the bid over Forbes Construction ($34,077,621); Scorpio/Inline Construction J/V ($29,980,689) and Consolidated Construction Management/Cavalier Construction J/V ($26,017,915).

#Additionally, Mr Davis revealed that provisional sums totalling $4m were approved for statutory utility connections, baseball accessories and installations, digital/video scoreboard and installation, supply and construction of synthetic field, stadium lighting, stadium ‘Smart Technology’ design, PA system, AV system and security/surveillance system install.

#When completed the new Andre Rodgers Baseball Stadium will have a seating capacity of 4,500, two auxiliary practice fields to the east of the stadium, locker rooms, meeting rooms, physical/therapy/training rooms; vendor spaces, eight luxury boxes, state of the art audio/visual scoreboard, parking and offices for the sport’s partner, the Bahamas Baseball Federation.

#Andre Rodgers was the first Bahamian to play in the major leagues.

#See Sports for more on this story

New Andre Rodgers National Baseball Stadium To Be Constructed

As of Wednesday, October 8, 2014


#Senior Sports Reporter

#WITH the Baseball Baseball Association and the Bahamas Baseball Federation now coming back together under one umbrella, the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture is looking at the next phase of restoring the creditability of the sport with the construction of the new Andre Rodgers National Baseball Stadium.

#According to Dr Daniel Johnson, the Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, work on the new stadium is expected to begin in January. The state-of-the-art facility is expected to be erected on the plot of land opposite the Government High School where the Seventh-Day Adventist is currently hosting a Revival Camp.

#“With the signing of this agreement, as a show of good faith on our part, I’ve instructed the National Sports Authority to get the architects and planners in this week because we have located the site for the reconstruction of the Andre Rodgers National Baseball Stadium,” Dr Johnson said.

#“Once all of the associations see the plans, we hope to break ground the first week in December as we do a special tribute in honour of Andre Rodgers. We hope to have several of his former professional baseball teammates in the United States to visit the Bahamas as host of Antoan Richardson, our present Major Leaguer, when we will break ground for the new construction that should commence on January 1.”

#The facility, when completed, should have a 3,000-seat capacity in the initial stage. There will be accommodations for locker rooms, vendors, lighting and green space. Additionally, there will be eight smaller diamonds erected for the use of practice fields and the staging of junior league programmes and tournaments.

#The original Andre Rodgers National Stadium was located in the Queen Elizabeth Sports Centre, was constructed in 1966 adjacent to the old Thomas A Robinson track and field stadium. However, when the government decided to build the new TAR National Stadium with the People’s Republic of China, the Andre Rodgers Stadium was destroyed in 2006.

#Rodgers, a talented shortstop, was the first Bahamian to play in the Major League. He made his debut with the New York Yankees on April 16, 1957 and finished his career with the Pittsburgh Pirates on September 30, 1967. He died aged 70 in December 2004.

#“I can’t put a figure on what it will take to construct the new stadium,” Dr Johnson said. “But when you have so many young players playing in the United States and they can’t come home to play, you can’t put a price figure on what it will take for us to construct the stadium. But I can guarantee you that everything that we do in that complex will take care of itself. “

#Once the baseball stadium is completed, Dr Johnson said work will commence on the construction of the new Churchill Tener Knowles National Softball Stadium, which was also demolished to make way for the new National Stadium. The new softball stadium will be located just across from the Banker’s Field at the Baillou Hills Sporting Complex.

#The original softball stadium was constructed in honour of Tener Knowles, a resident of Grand Bahama, who was the second Bahamian to be inducted into the International Softball Federation Hall of Fame. He was enshrined in the class of 1991 as an administrator and organiser. He followed the late Leon ‘Apache’ Knowles, who was inducted in 1987 as a coach/player.

#Additionally, Dr Johnson said the Bahamas Lawn Tennis Association is in the process of constructing a proper stadium court, the Bahamas Golf Federation is nearing the completion of their nine-hole course, the Bahamas Football Association is looking at upgrading their pitch and there will be a new multi-purpose indoor arena that will be built on a site to be announced.

#“We’re looking at making the entire area a one-stop sports mecca,” Dr Johnson said. “There are talks with the hotel division of the College of The Bahamas with the idea of designing a small hotel that the college students will run so that we can host any type of games for athletes, coaches and officials.

#“So we have a lot of things on the agenda that we hope to have established over the next few years

Vision Of The Future

As of Friday, January 13, 2012


#Senior Sports Reporter

#NOT since the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture demolished the Andre Rodgers Baseball Stadium in 2006 to make way for the construction of the new Thomas A. Robinson Track and Field Stadium has senior baseball been played in New Providence.

#Yesterday, Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Charles Maynard and Bahamas Baseball Federation’s president, Craig “Salty” Kemp, unveiled the plans for the construction of the new Andre Rodgers Baseball Complex.

#The plan, designed by architect and former baseball player turned coach Teran Rodgers, calls for a main stadium with a seating capacity of 5,000. There would also be a pair of 13-and-over fields and combined smaller fields for ages 9-10 and 11-12 that will accommodate 1,500 seats each.

#There will also be at least four practice fields built in the proposal for the complex, which will be next to the Government High School in the Queen Elizabeth Sports Centre.

#Additionally, there will be a baseball academy and five dormitories.

#Construction of the complex, according to Maynard, will begin in stages sometime this year, although he declined to give any further details until all of the specifics are ironed out by the Sports Authority that will come into existence in the next two weeks.


Position of the proposed Andre Rodgers Baseball Complex

#“In 2006, in preparation for the ground breaking of the new national stadium, the Andre Rodgers Baseball stadium was demolished, and so from 2006 to date, we have not had a national facility for baseball and senior baseball has suffered as a result,” Maynard disclosed.

#“In fact, night-time baseball in the Bahamas has suffered as a result. So, with the introduction of these facilities, we hope to take advantage of all of the success that we have had over the years in junior baseball and bring senior baseball back to the Bahamas in a big way.”

#Kemp, accompanied by his secretary general Teddy Sweeting, it’s great that under his watch, the complex will start to take shape, but it doesn’t matter because he just want to see that the young players in the country have the best opportunity to play in the best facilities available.

#“I’m honored to be the one sitting in the chair here for the moment,” Kemp stressed. “I’m just more elated that it’s going to take place soon.”

#While the focus is now being placed on the new complex, Kemp said the federation is looking forward to the day when at least one stadium is constructed on each of the islands where they

#“The plans that we have for baseball is going to blow everybody away,” he said. “But this is our starting point. We would like to see Major League teams come here and have spring training and have exhibition games.

#“We would like to host collegiate games. We have all sorts of things that we would like to see happen for this complex. That is why we believe that it is important for us to design a first class facility to attract these kinds of events to our shores.”

#Kemp said it is obvious that everyone wants to come to the Bahamas, but a lot of times, there’s only one shot in making it possible and so the federation wants to make sure that they take advantage of their opportunity.

#Maynard congratulated the federation for their diligence in keeping the sport alive, despite not having a national stadium to showcase the senior players.

#“What they would have done was brought baseball back alive in the Bahamas. Baseball used to be one of the number one sports back in the day in the 1960 and 1970,” he said.

#“We had a lull there for a long time baseball just was not progressing. The sports federation decided to concentrate on youth development and doing that we ended up with successes in baseball.”